Warriors advance in regional play after big win
STEPHENS CITY — The Sherando High School Warriors (8-2) are moving on after trouncing the James Wood High School Colonels (5-5) 48-0 on a bitterly cold night at Arrowhead Stadium.
“I’m proud of our guys, I like the heart that they showed tonight,” Sherando head coach Bill Hall said.
From the very first whistle, the game and the night belonged to the Sherando defense as well as senior running back LeeQuan Johnson Jr.
Johnson once again had a great night for the Warriors, finishing with 163 yards on 34 carries and also ran for two scores.
“He keeps running hard … they gave us a little bit of a different front than we expected,” said Hall.
Since Johnson ran wild in the previous meeting, the Colonels attempted to counter that Friday night by stacking the box with eight or even nine defenders.
Sherando capitalized on this for the first score of the game.
After holding the Colonels to a three-and-out, Sherando quarterback Patrick Minteer hit tight end Dylan Rivers for a 17-yard touchdown off of a play-action pass to make it 7-0.
“That is a heavy run set for us, but we do attack out of based on what [the defense] presents,” Hall said.
Minteer would finish the game 7 for 12 passing with 96 yards and three touchdowns. Minteer’s score, a 3-yard strike to wide receiver Seth Smith gave Sherando a 21-0 cushion heading in to the locker room.
From there, the Warriors never looked back. The Sherando defense swarmed to every James Wood ball carrier. Whether it was senior quarterback Brady Hepner or running back Taylor Bishop, the Colonels seemingly never had a chance.
Bishop finished the game with 34 rushing yards on 15 carries, and was the biggest standout performer on the Colonel’s offense. Hepner was able to complete 11 of 17 for 77 yards, but was held to minus-one yard on 10 carries.
The Warriors were able to get an impressive push along the defensive line and sealed off most of James Woods’ potential running lanes.
“I think our guys are executing at a high level right now – I think we seem to get better every week,” Hall said.
The defensive front for Sherando did not let the James Wood offense cross the midfield stripe until well into the second half.
Despite the suffocating performance from the Sherando defense, James Wood was able to string together back-to-back first downs to drive inside the Warriors’ 20. However, Bishop fumbled and the Sherando defense recovered to end the drive.
Johnson made them pay as he iced the game for good on a 2-yard touchdown run to make it 35-0 with 6:21 remaining.
Despite the blowout win and another big night from its star, Sherando was not without fault. On a series following another James Wood three-and-out, Sherando committed two back-to-back procedural penalties.
Even though the penalties did not hurt the Warriors, Hall said, “We don’t accept those at all … our guys know that we play to a certain standard and obviously that’s not living up to it.”
Hall said that the team will celebrate the win for 24 hours before they begin preparation for their date with the third-seeded Liberty Eagles next weekend.
“We’ve had a lot of battles with them over the years … and we’re looking forward to their challenge,” Hall said.
Contact staff writer Kevin Green at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or “mailto:email@example.com”>firstname.lastname@example.org